Panasonic LX5 no better than a joe average P&S camera?

TraamisVOS

Hall of Famer
Nov 29, 2010
Melbourne, Australia
Of course! But that is very different than what you accuse non/starting photographers. We are on the same page. If your composition sucks with a P&S camera, not even the most expensive camera can fix that.
I've been making the same point in my previous posts, and no we're not in the same page because I'm not talking about composition. Composition is universal for any camera you use.


Since last december, I have been using a Lumix G3 so it is too late now to go back to a P&S. Although I don't see how wanting to see what I saw on my screen qualifies me for using a lesser quality product. Why is it necessary to manipulate a picture? I don't get that. Because of it, I now should just use a so so camera? I am not taking a picture for any other reason, but to appreciate nature as I saw it in that moment. True, that a P&S will look worse than DSLR, but if it is good enough for me, is there anything wrong with that?
That is a perfectly legitimate approach to photography, nothing wrong with that. But here we're talking about the canned baked beans approach to judging the quality of higher end cameras.


I know these shots are nothing special but why would I post process them? Are these not good enough for my purposes? I am not in business to sell my pictures, I take them for my own enjoyment. What am I missing with this JPEG? Each picture comes with it's emotions that were felt that day. I love it. What "I" don't want to feel is a reminder that this picture was PPed and looks different than what I remember.
Absolutely nothing wrong with that, art is subjective after all.


Again, if I don't install a supercharger on my naturally aspirated M3, do you suggest to me that I should really just get a VW?
No, what I'm saying is, to criticise the LX5 for not producing good JPGs would be missing the part that makes the LX5 a great camera.


Your chef DOESN'T claim that his beans are just canned beans. But YOU claim it would be ok for your chef to say the beans are canned when in fact a lot more went into creating the end product. Can you not see what I am trying to point out? How can you post a picture that you spent extra time on and say that is what the LX5 created?
I know what you are saying and what I'm trying to say is JPGs are only a part of what the LX5 can do. The baked beans analogy is response to what you were saying about what post-processing means to you.


That way we know what is possible from the camera itself. That is helpful. Shouldn't we try to get as much as possible out of the camera, before we add our own interpretation to it?
No, no, if you want to get as much out of a camera like the LX5 you should really go raw, in which case the image that it produces should look relatively flat and bland, if the photo is correctly taken. This is what I've been trying to explain. Adding your own interpretation is what I was talking about in terms of artistic creativity - the LX5 is a camera that allows you to do that. So getting 'as much as possible out of the camera' is really to get a flat and bland image.

The problem with this though, is that you will look at this flat and bland image and you'll say "what a crap camera, its images are flat and bland".


PS: the Leica VS the LX5 comparo is way off.
It's not way off. Criticising the Leica for its JPGs is missing what it can really do. Same with the LX5.
 

bartjeej

Hall of Famer
Nov 12, 2010
bart
I'm not gonna go into most of this discussion, but I'll just offer my opinion on the BMW M3 comparison. I think modding your car is not comparable to shooting raw, I think that's more like switching from the kit lens to a higher quality lens on an interchangable lens camera.

In my opinion, the best car analogy for the jpeg/raw would be a car which can be had with either an automatic gearbox or a manual. The manual means you'll have to make all your shifting decisions yourself, but it gives you more control and if you know how to do it right, more performance (ignoring those modern automated manuals here). I think car buyers in general know that buying the auto version is more convenient but you'll have to live with the way and the timing of its up- and downshifts as decided by the factory, whereas a manual box requires more work but many driving enthusiasts are willing to make that effort.

Perhaps you might say the auto/manual car thing is more comparable to auto/PASM in photography but I think there's some relevance for jpeg/raw as well.
 

Ray Sachs

Legend
Sep 21, 2010
Not too far from Philly
you should be able to figure it out...
Why is it necessary to manipulate a picture? I don't get that.............I am not taking a picture for any other reason, but to appreciate nature as I saw it in that moment. True, that a P&S will look worse than DSLR, but if it is good enough for me, is there anything wrong with that?
Of course there's nothing wrong with that. There are about as many reasons to take photographs as there are people taking photographs. There are a LOT of people who take the strictly documentary approach to photography that you're talking about - I want to see what I saw in the viewfinder (or lcd or whatever) and nothing else and I want to see it as accurately as possible. That's one approach, its a very common one, and it is exactly as legitimate as any other approach, of which there are many - no more, no less.

But in getting that type of photograph, how do you set up your cameras for jpegs? Do you adjust the contrast? Do you adjust the NR, the sharpening, the saturation? Or do you just leave the camera set to its default positions? If you change any of them, why? Probably because those settings give you an image or set of colors or clarity or softness that you find more pleasing than some other setting. The point I was trying to make in an earlier post is that each of those adjustments is essentially the same as post processing - its adjusting the camera's software to render an image a particular way. The difference between doing that in the camera before you take the shot and doing it either in the camera or on a PC after the shot is taken is simply one of timing and, in some cases, degree. You don't like much processing - that's fine. But I assume you do some degree of fine tuning in your settings and my only point is that this is really no different than trying to achieve those same fine tunings AFTER the fact on a computer screen with several more levels of control over them. What you do with them is your business - whether you're going for perceived accuracy or something completely different is totally up to you as a photographer. When you do the fine tuning (processing) is also up to you, but don't be under the illusion that you're not doing it. And if you're not changing ANYTHING from the camera's defaults, you're just letting whoever designed the jpeg engine for the G3 make those decisions for you. Which is also totally your prerogative - just don't be under the illusion that your shots aren't being processed - they're just being processed to a set of parameters that either you or someone else set before the shot was taken - or adjusted after the shot was taken...

As to you question of "why is it necessary to manipulate a picture"(beyond the manipulations built into the jpeg engine)? For many, clearly its not, you included. That's fine and totally up to the individual. But there are various reasons that many of us DO want to. First, even getting back to your point about 'just showing what I saw as accurately as possible' (I'm paraphrasing here). We see in three dimensions and in almost 180 degrees as our eyes take in whatever scene we're seeing. We're processing a ton of information every second in ways that it takes a full human brain to process (and manipulate - we each bring our own built-in filters to what and how we see the world) - what stands out in the very same scene may be very different for me than it would be for you even if we were looking at it at the same time from the same spot. So the attempt to create a two dimensional image that fits into a 3x2 or 4x3 or 16x9 or 1x1 frame that somehow communicates what we saw (and felt when we saw it, because that's part of our experience too) when looking at any given scene often takes something other than a very basic and clean rendering. Again, if you're only trying to capture an image that triggers a memory of a specific scene for you, you may not (and clearly don't) wish to do anything beyond print out that jpeg or look at it on your computer screen. But if you're trying to communicate what it looked and felt like to someone who wasn't there, all in that highly confined frame, you may want to do other things to the image.

Just one simple example. I was at the beach last summer, on a small barrier island off of the east coast of the US. An enormous and violent storm was slipping up along the coast of the mainland, just a mile or two to the west of where we were, but it was sticking right to the coast of the mainland and totally avoiding our little barrier island, where we were enjoying peaceful day bathed in sunlight. It was frankly one of the most dramatic natural scenes I've ever seen anywhere. I took a few photos of the storm across the water from us to try to convey this drama. But just sticking to the color jpegs didn't even begin to convey the drama of the situation. I showed some of these to my friends and family at the beach and they were unmoved. Then I processed these photos in B&W, really accentuating the clouds and contrast in the scene to convey some of the drama of it. I showed the same people these processed shots and they were just out of their minds about them, saying things like "THAT really gets the power of the moment", or "I can really FEEL the drame I felt when I see it that way", etc. The more processed shot was clearly the less accurate of the two versions - I didn't add anything that wasn't there but I accentuated the image to attempt to show the power of the moment in a way that the original jpeg didn't, at least within that limited 3x2 frame. And I showed it in B&W which clearly isn't how most of our eyes work. Now, you could say, maybe if I'd adjusted the jpeg settings before I took the shot or used a wider angle lens to show more of the scene I could have achieved the same end without the post processing. Maybe so, but aren't those also ways of manipulating the scene to show the drama I felt in it? Sure, its just a matter of when those decisions were made and how...

Just for the heck of it, here are the before and afters. I'm not suggesting that anyone else should like or dislike or emulate this approach or should do anything beyond just take a shot and pull it out of the camera and enjoy it that way. But you asked why you might, and this is one example of why you might. I almost always do because I have different photographic goals than you have - to each their own.

View attachment 50801

View attachment 50802

There's no right or wrong here, and this discussion has obviously gone well beyond the LX5, but there are a lot of options available to photographers and each of decides which ones to take advantage of and which to leave alone. And, of course, you should use whatever camera you personally prefer to achieve your own ends.

To tie it back to the LX-5, my point is simply that I don't find the LX-5 to be a limiting factor in producing the types of photography I like to do. Except in specific situations, low light being the one area where its capabilities start limiting me pretty notably.

-Ray
 

Ray Sachs

Legend
Sep 21, 2010
Not too far from Philly
you should be able to figure it out...
Inidentally, this is some of the best work I've seen with an LX5:

LX5 A landscapers perspective: Panasonic Talk Forum: Digital Photography Review
Thanks for linking to that. I was trying to find Brian's web page to post earlier in this thread but couldn't - I've been checking out his work with various cameras for a couple of years now. He does great work in that same vein with whatever he shoots with (I think he's mostly shooting with Nex now, but I'm not sure - I've seen his photos elsewhere recently). And, yep, he post processes his shots heavily and does a great job of communicating the desolation and other-worldly ness of the landscapes he's seeing. I love his work, regardless of what he shoots it with! But he certainly shows that the LX5 is not going to be the limiting factor in making great photographs...

-Ray
 

tdekany

Veteran
Dec 21, 2011
Portland OR
First, thank you for your reply. I always enjoy your tone of voice.

Normally, I love your B&W pictures, but in this case, I much prefer the color version.

I have always used manual mode on the Canon S3. Yes, I had my own settings that "I" liked, but my point is that THAT quality (if anyone actually liked my pictures) can be pretty closely matched by someone else. What anyone does in PP is unique to that one person's artistic skills/vision - that in my mind is so far removed from "realistic" expectations.

After all, most (I'd assume) who start a thread like this one, and asking the kind of questions being asked above, IS NOT a person with decent photographic and/or PP skills.

It would be way more helpful to show a high quality SOOC shot (with what ever setting it was taken with) like the link I posted, because not everyone wants to PP and THEN post a PPed picture as well to point out how far you can push the envelope with that particular camera.

To just randomly post your best worked shots for a newcomer is not actually helpful.

I teach detailing classes to both newcomers and seasoned pros. Do you think the classes are similar?

Of course there's nothing wrong with that. There are about as many reasons to take photographs as there are people taking photographs. There are a LOT of people who take the strictly documentary approach to photography that you're talking about - I want to see what I saw in the viewfinder (or lcd or whatever) and nothing else and I want to see it as accurately as possible. That's one approach, its a very common one, and it is exactly as legitimate as any other approach, of which there are many - no more, no less.

But in getting that type of photograph, how do you set up your cameras for jpegs? Do you adjust the contrast? Do you adjust the NR, the sharpening, the saturation? Or do you just leave the camera set to its default positions? If you change any of them, why? Probably because those settings give you an image or set of colors or clarity or softness that you find more pleasing than some other setting. The point I was trying to make in an earlier post is that each of those adjustments is essentially the same as post processing - its adjusting the camera's software to render an image a particular way. The difference between doing that in the camera before you take the shot and doing it either in the camera or on a PC after the shot is taken is simply one of timing and, in some cases, degree. You don't like much processing - that's fine. But I assume you do some degree of fine tuning in your settings and my only point is that this is really no different than trying to achieve those same fine tunings AFTER the fact on a computer screen with several more levels of control over them. What you do with them is your business - whether you're going for perceived accuracy or something completely different is totally up to you as a photographer. When you do the fine tuning (processing) is also up to you, but don't be under the illusion that you're not doing it. And if you're not changing ANYTHING from the camera's defaults, you're just letting whoever designed the jpeg engine for the G3 make those decisions for you. Which is also totally your prerogative - just don't be under the illusion that your shots aren't being processed - they're just being processed to a set of parameters that either you or someone else set before the shot was taken - or adjusted after the shot was taken...

As to you question of "why is it necessary to manipulate a picture"(beyond the manipulations built into the jpeg engine)? For many, clearly its not, you included. That's fine and totally up to the individual. But there are various reasons that many of us DO want to. First, even getting back to your point about 'just showing what I saw as accurately as possible' (I'm paraphrasing here). We see in three dimensions and in almost 180 degrees as our eyes take in whatever scene we're seeing. We're processing a ton of information every second in ways that it takes a full human brain to process (and manipulate - we each bring our own built-in filters to what and how we see the world) - what stands out in the very same scene may be very different for me than it would be for you even if we were looking at it at the same time from the same spot. So the attempt to create a two dimensional image that fits into a 3x2 or 4x3 or 16x9 or 1x1 frame that somehow communicates what we saw (and felt when we saw it, because that's part of our experience too) when looking at any given scene often takes something other than a very basic and clean rendering. Again, if you're only trying to capture an image that triggers a memory of a specific scene for you, you may not (and clearly don't) wish to do anything beyond print out that jpeg or look at it on your computer screen. But if you're trying to communicate what it looked and felt like to someone who wasn't there, all in that highly confined frame, you may want to do other things to the image.

Just one simple example. I was at the beach last summer, on a small barrier island off of the east coast of the US. An enormous and violent storm was slipping up along the coast of the mainland, just a mile or two to the west of where we were, but it was sticking right to the coast of the mainland and totally avoiding our little barrier island, where we were enjoying peaceful day bathed in sunlight. It was frankly one of the most dramatic natural scenes I've ever seen anywhere. I took a few photos of the storm across the water from us to try to convey this drama. But just sticking to the color jpegs didn't even begin to convey the drama of the situation. I showed some of these to my friends and family at the beach and they were unmoved. Then I processed these photos in B&W, really accentuating the clouds and contrast in the scene to convey some of the drama of it. I showed the same people these processed shots and they were just out of their minds about them, saying things like "THAT really gets the power of the moment", or "I can really FEEL the drame I felt when I see it that way", etc. The more processed shot was clearly the less accurate of the two versions - I didn't add anything that wasn't there but I accentuated the image to attempt to show the power of the moment in a way that the original jpeg didn't, at least within that limited 3x2 frame. And I showed it in B&W which clearly isn't how most of our eyes work. Now, you could say, maybe if I'd adjusted the jpeg settings before I took the shot or used a wider angle lens to show more of the scene I could have achieved the same end without the post processing. Maybe so, but aren't those also ways of manipulating the scene to show the drama I felt in it? Sure, its just a matter of when those decisions were made and how...

Just for the heck of it, here are the before and afters. I'm not suggesting that anyone else should like or dislike or emulate this approach or should do anything beyond just take a shot and pull it out of the camera and enjoy it that way. But you asked why you might, and this is one example of why you might. I almost always do because I have different photographic goals than you have - to each their own.

View attachment 50814



There's no right or wrong here, and this discussion has obviously gone well beyond the LX5, but there are a lot of options available to photographers and each of decides which ones to take advantage of and which to leave alone. And, of course, you should use whatever camera you personally prefer to achieve your own ends.

To tie it back to the LX-5, my point is simply that I don't find the LX-5 to be a limiting factor in producing the types of photography I like to do. Except in specific situations, low light being the one area where its capabilities start limiting me pretty notably.

-Ray
 

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